The Vancouver Canucks will get a big boost to their sandpaper quotient tonight as Zack Kassian returns to the lineup. He was held out of the team’s first five regular season games as he served the rest of the eight-game suspension he received for shattering Sam Gagner’s jaw with a high stick during the preseason.
John Tortorella spoke to the Vancouver Sun about what he hopes Kassian will bring to Vancouver’s lineup:
I hope Zack brings us some forechecking. He’s a big body and a willing guy. I think it helps us slot some people in other areas so we’ll see how it falls out.
Kassian is the kind of player that Tortorella has leaned on in with his former teams. He brings a tremendous amount of grit to the lineup, doesn’t shy away from contact and always seems to be engaged in the game in way way or another. If the lines from the morning skate stick, Kassian will jump in on the third line alongside David Booth and Brad Richardson.
His usual spot with the Sedin twins has been taken over by Mike Santorelli, who has scored four goals in his last five games while playing on the top line. Kassian is the kind of player that will bring his game no matter what line he’s skating on though, and he’ll be a big help for a Canucks along the walls and in on the forecheck.